Louis Gerstner

Culture eats vision for breakfast. Teams have to work together to succeed.


You have a great vision, a great plan to achieve the vision, and great people to work the plan. But something is holding you back. Your team just can’t seem to achieve the success it should.

I have found that in cases like this you should check the culture.

Louis Gerstner was the CEO of IBM during the 1990’s success at saving IBM from going bankrupt and making it profitable again in the 1990’s when IBM’s culture had become siloed and insular. “The thing I learned at IBM is that culture is everything.”

Here are four steps to reinvigorate culture.

Clear the air
Have an honest conversation – what is going on with your culture? You may need an independent evaluation like Gallup so people will talk. A process that can share the facts in a non-judgmental way.

Tell your team that you are sorry that the culture got this way, and you didn’t see it. You are sorry they had to deal with the culture the way it was. And thank your team for being honest.

Listen to the results and accept responsibility to change the culture one step at a time.

Open up ongoing communication so culture doesn’t get this out of hand again. You don’t have to wait for the independent survey. “How am I doing?” “How is it going?” “How are you?” Are great ways to keep communication open.

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